Uganda: Opposition MPs Boycott Parliament, Demand for Release of Colleagues

Members of Parliament subscribing to the Opposition wing yesterday snubbed the plenary sitting and vowed not to return until their colleagues, Kawempe North’s Muhammad Ssegirinya and his Makindye West counterpart, Allan Ssewanyana are produced in court and released.

The Opposition Chief Whip, Mr John Baptist Nambeshe, condemned the continued arrest of their colleagues in non-gazetted areas saying they cannot pay a deaf ear to what is happening.

“Effective today (Wednesday), we are going to keep away from the proceedings of the House even tomorrow (today) until this pressure is mounted to even call off the House,” Mr Nambeshe told journalists at Parliament.

“We want you to watch the space, we mean business and we are serious on the question of boycott until justice is dispersed to our colleagues,” he added.

Joint security forces this week re-arrested both Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana shortly after they were granted bail from Kigo Prison. They were taken to the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka.

The duo was taken to Masaka Magistrate’s Court yesterday afternoon and slapped with fresh murder charges and remanded again to Kigo Prison.

Upon arriving to an empty side of the House where opposition MPs sit, the Speaker of Parliament Mr Jacob Oulanyah said they were free to do so, as he also condemned the manner in which the MPs were re-arrested.

“The laws are not just decorations; they are for a purpose where systems are respected. Ordinarily even if you are to arrest a Member of Parliament, it should not be done by junior officers. It should not be constables. It should be officers of a certain rank,” Mr Oulanyah said.

“A Member of Parliament should not be arrested by a police constable because for them, they don’t know the rules. Even if they know, sometimes they exceed the limit,” he added.

On Tuesday, the opposition MPs led by their leader Mr Mathias Mpuuga walked out of the plenary sitting expressing discontent in the response given by government on the re-arrest of their colleagues.

“As a result of what happened yesterday (Tuesday), I had a meeting this morning with the government chief whip and minister in charge of security and the minister of state internal affairs. The meeting was also attended by the Leader of Opposition. We had agreed that we would all be here but just before I came, I received a phone call from the Leader of the Opposition indicating that he was not able to talk to his members so they made a decision that they were not yet satisfied and so they would not be coming to the House. So I respect that,” Mr Oulanyah said.

The state minister of internal affairs, Gen David Muhoozi, yesterday told the House, “They got bail, however, in the course of the investigation, fresh information arose that warranted their re-arrest. They were held at Kireka until today (Wednesday) when they were transferred to Masaka and produced before court,” he said.


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Author : Monitor

Publish date : 2021-10-01 13:35:36

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